How to Turn an Old iPhone Into an iPod Touch

If you upgraded to the new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, you might be wondering what you should do with your old iPhone. Your primary instinct might just be to sell it, but you’d be surprised what kind of use you can get out of an old iPhone, even if it doesn’t have a data plan attached to it. One of the most popular repurposing methods is to use an old iPhone as  glorified iPod Touch.

However, there a few steps that you need to take first before you can use an old iPhone without a phone plan, and we’ll show you those steps needed so that you can quickly and easily be on your way with a retrofitted iPod Touch; perhaps it could make for a great hand-me-down gift during the holiday season.


Get a SIM Card

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a hold of a SIM card. This might be tricky if you no longer have the SIM card that came with the old iPhone, as you’ll need a SIM card that came from a previously-activated iPhone. It can be a SIM card from any iPhone, though, which shouldn’t be hard to find if you have iPhone-toting friends with old SIM cards lying around. If all else fails, you can easily find SIM cards on eBay.

Once you have the SIM card, follow these quick steps:

  1. 2013-11-11 14.19.39Insert the SIM card into your old iPhone.
  2. Connect the old iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes.
  3. iTunes will see it as a new device and will need to activate it. Once it’s activated, you’re good to go!

You can certainly use an old iPhone without a SIM card, but you’ll get an annoying pop-up message every time you reboot. Plus, without a SIM card, you won’t be to restore the iPhone if you ever need to. Don’t worry, though; even if you have a SIM card in your old iPhone, it won’t have a service plan attached to it, so you won’t be paying a monthly service charge.

Turn Off Cellular & Turn On WiFi

Since your new “iPod Touch” doesn’t have a service plan (which means you can’t make calls or send/receive text messages), you might as well turn off all of the cellular radios in your old iPhone. However, your device will heavily rely on WiFi, so be sure to turn that on. Here’s how to do both:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on Cellular.
  2. There should be a toggle at the top to turn off the cellular radio. Tap on the toggle until it turns gray (if it isn’t already).
  3. Go back to the main Settings screen and tap on Wi-Fi.
  4. Tap on the toggle switch at the top next to Wi-Fi to turn it on (if it isn’t already).
  5. Select your home network from the list below and enter in the password.

2013-11-11 14.28.49

You don’t necessarily need to turn off the cellular radios, but it helps conserve battery, since your old iPhone won’t constantly be searching for a signal that it’ll never receive.

Go Wild

After you’ve completed those steps, you’re home free. You can now use your old iPhone as a glorified iPod Touch, with the ability to play music, download and install apps and games, and even look up maps (providing you have a WiFi connection). An iPod Touch is pretty much an iPhone without the phone, so the only things you won’t be able to do are make/receive phone calls, send/receive text messages and access the internet without a WiFi connection.

Furthermore, your new “iPod Touch” can also act as a backup phone for whenever your primary device breaks or fails. If that happens, you won’t need to rush out and pick up a loaner. Instead, you’ll already have a backup that you can use that will already have all of your preferred apps and games on it.